Changing climate is the most pressing issue in the twenty-first century. With the global temperature continuing to rise, every sector must focus on the amount of greenhouse gases it emits and the amount of fossil fuels it consumes. Drought, floods, and early frost are all being exacerbated by rising temperatures. To avoid this, man is finding better ways of generating energy without hurting the planet, and solar energy is the giant in the room.Today, every industry is attempting to adopt this renewable energy source of energy, and the agriculture sector has not been left behind.
In fact, agriculture among the industries that continue to reap great benefits from the use of solar energy as demand for agricultural production continues to rise globally.
So, what are the benefits of solar energy in agriculture? As a farmer, this is a question you should ask yourself, especially if you’re looking into creating sustainable agricultural practices. Read on and find out why it’s critical not ignore the role of solar energy in agriculture.
What are the benefits of Using solar energy in agriculture?
Inconsistent electricity supply is a major source of concern for many farmers, and many have suffered significant losses as a result. Those that have embraced the use of solar energy can attest to the facts that:
- It’s a lot cheaper compared to fossil fuels: Solar energy will be less expensive than fossil fuels on large farms. This is one of the ultimate benefits of using solar energy in agriculture. The installation will be expensive, but once you have recouped your investment, the energy you consume will be almost free of charge. Furthermore, you will be eligible for state and federal government subsidies to help you pay for the installation.
- It’s an effective solution to drought-related problems: Drought and power outages are a concern for farmers every year. You won’t have to rely on other electricity providers to carry out your farming activities if you install solar energy panels. You can even drill your own borehole and use solar energy to pump water to your farm without relying on power companies.
- It’s getting more advanced: Today, advancements in solar panel technology have gone beyond imagination. From floating solar farms that can generate power without necessarily needing valuable land for installation to Building-integrated photovoltaics technology that involves integrating aesthetically appealing solar panels into structures such as roofs, skylight systems, and facades, solar energy has proven to be revolutionary.
- Energy can be stored for later use: Solar panels solve the concerns of power outages. It is becoming easier to store arrest and store solar energy for later use as technology advances.
- It’s the most efficient way to prevent global warming: The hot topic of the twenty-first century is global warming. Every industry is attempting to reduce its carbon footprint in some way. With the increased demand for agricultural produce, settling for non-renewable sources of energy is only catastrophic. Solar energy is clean of greenhouse gases and is among the best ways of reversing global warming.
Application of Solar Energy in Agriculture:
Now that you know what are the benefits of solar energy in agriculture, let’s learn how you can apply this technology to realize the associated benefits.
Solar power controlling daily activities:
Solar energy can be used to pump water for livestock and irrigating crops. In addition, heat is useful for animal rearing. Some animals, like birds, require temperature-controlled environments as they develop, and energy from solar panels can come in handy. Similarly, it has applications in greenhouse farming, as in the case of the tent-to-farm approach.
Further, solar water heaters can be used to provide hot water for cleaning cattle and pens. Dairy farms can also use this hot water to warm and stimulate the udders of dairy cows when milking without incurring any electricity bill.
Solar energy to dry crops and grains:
During the traditional open-air drying method, a large percentage of agricultural produce spoils. Solar drying allows crops to dry faster and more evenly compared to when they’re left out in the open field to dry. This comes with the added benefit of safety from birds, insects, and worms.
Direct drying (solar box dryer), indirect drying (solar cabinet dryer), mixed-mode drying (solar tunnel dryer), and hybrid drying (hybrid solar/biomass cabinet dryer) are all examples of solar dryers making an impact in the agricultural industry today.
A solar drying apparatus is typically made up of a shed, a drying rack, and a solar collector. If your farm has a crop dryer, it makes sense to use solar energy as it’s more efficient, reliable, and cheap.
Solar photovoltaics in agriculture:
This is the true definition of renewable energy. PV solar panels are used to generate electric power from sunlight. This is often a more cost-effective option than traditional methods of supplying electricity, particularly in remote areas where power transmission lines are difficult to install. The panels have no moving parts and are therefore less complicated to maintain than diesel fuels electricity generators.
PV can be used in irrigation, agricultural product refrigeration, grain milling, electric fencing, and poultry lighting. Although solar PV systems are limited to devices with lower energy inputs, they can help you reduce your reliance on electricity. Furthermore, the cost of PV systems is expected to decrease over time.
Renewable energy sources in agriculture production will solve energy and water scarcity issues, ensure food security, and improve sustainable agriculture. As more farmers continue to embrace solar energy technology, there’s no doubt that it’s the right thing to do.